Altered Art Baccy Tin

I once smoked cigars, back when I had money to burn. Cigar boxes are great for altering. Then came the career change and I switched to an occasional pipe, and no longer were boxes in ready supply. Instead I have an increasing pile of round tobacco tins, as I was sure I would find a use for them (other than hoarding screws in them that is). Well yesterday I had a spark of inspiration (I blame the new medication) and I’ve spent some time using skills with a piercing saw that I picked up at college. A pierced celtic knot allows the contained pot-pourri pong to escape and gives tantalising glimpses of the bits ‘n’ bobs  included. Perfect piece of pungent upcycling!

Top tips:

  • Find stencil patterns to adapt – that way you know whole chunks you wanted to keep won’t suddenly fall into the bin
  • Remove all labels and adhesive from the tin before you start cutting
  • Use a decent piercing saw and a blade with high number of teeth per inch for a smooth cut – change regularly even if you don’t manage to break the blade
  • Use a jeweller’s bench peg to work on as it’s so much safer and easier
  • Regularly clean your cutting surface of the metal burrs – I didn’t at the start and that’s what has sanded off the gold around the edge
  • Mark the cutting lines on the inside of the lid and cut upside down as well – this reduces the bounce of the metal as you can hold it closer to the bench peg
  • Work from the middle out to help keep everything as rigid as possible
  • If you need to flatten out the final piercing, hit with a flat hammer onto a flat surface a couple of times.

A reason to smile (for Jones Crafts)

I’ve managed to eke out the remainder of my papers left over from my desktop calendar project using the Hello Today collection from Kaisercraft to make a 12×12″ layout:

IMG_5520_wThe smiles are all from the internet, but could just as easily be friends and family. I’ve printed them in black and white and cut them as a circle 4.6cm diameter: initially I cut out the hexagons to make a frame and stuck the prints behind. Then when I added the hexagon white frames (e-cut) I realised there was no need to do the cutting and masking! That said, there are a couple of the hexagon cut outs mounted onto foam pads and stuck over others to give some depth to the layout. Add some of the ribbon embellishments and the sentiment matted onto white and black card and you’re done.

Sheets used: Everyday / Current / Nowadays


Altered Art Celtic Style Box

IMG_5519_wThis started off as one of those ubiquitous paper mache boxes, approximately 3 inches square and found in most arts and crafts stockists. I’ve used real copper sheet (via Woodware stockists) and embossed it with celtic knot designs printed from internet sources, traced onto the copper and then worked with various embossing tools. The black background is just permanent black marker direct to the box. The raised areas are filled with Dimensional Magic from Mod Podge, though Glossy Accents does the job too. Once that’s dry, the copper ‘aged’ with a smear of black acrylic paint which is polished off when still wet. Once that’s all done it’s stuck down to the box with ultra tack sheet/tape. Another sample for my demonstration day at Coleman’s Craft Warehouse on Saturday 6th December.


The grass is always greener…

IMG_5516_wAnother art journal page, completed as my homework for the art journaling sessions I run in The Studio on the first Monday evening of the month.

This month we learnt the technique of image transfer, and I set the homework of using image transfer in a layout. For this piece, I took a background image of the grass, printed it twice at full sheet A4 size on a laser printer and then used matte multi-medium to transfer each sheet to one side of a double spread previously covered in green/turquoise acrylic paint. The acrylic background is helpful in case (as here) the image transfer doesn’t take across the whole page, as well as not moving about with the multi-medium gel.

Once I’d done the transfer, I printed the text using matte white acrylic paint on rubber and foam stamps, and outlined them with a white Signo broad pen once they were dry. Finally, I went round some of the letters with a green coloured pencil to help darken the lighter grass colours to improve the contrast of the letters against the background. Oh, and the pink hue on some of the letters comes from previous inks used on the foam stamps staining the white paint!


Walk In The Son – Art in Worship

I was asked by a friend to help illustrate his message for the evening service at Whetstone Baptist Church last Sunday evening. He used passages from Psalms to describe David’s fall from kingship through despair in a dungeon, to feigned madness and then freedom and release. We were then invited to visualise and recall a walk in the sun, how it felt, and then we were told facts about The Sun itself. Alex then compared the darkness to his faith a couple of years ago to walking in the light now – and moved onto passages from John describing how it is to walk in the light of God.

My illustration used PanPastels as they blend and overlay so well, working onto A3 white card and filmed using an overhead webcam shared to the church projectors via laptop. Unfortunately, I didn’t work out the technology enough to record as I went, so I only have the final still to share. I started by adding a grey swirl around the outside as the walls closed in round David, adding yellow in the centre as the glimmer of escape came. As the description of the sun played out, I added the blue skies, built up the centre and erased the circular lines and the rays. We used a play on words to initially ‘walk in the sun’ as we were visualising that, and then as we moved on, I erased the figure bit by bit, adding the head and hands just before the climax of the illustration changing the ‘u’ to an ‘o':


Feedback from this first time attempt at live illustration was very positive, and from my point of view, it all worked well! Some top tips: work with the preacher to hone the order of things, especially if the image develops from a previous layer; definitely rehearse timings with something so tied to the sermon material; know your technology and check it’s doing what you expect; and be prepared to go for it :)


Altered Art Samples

Aside from feverishly making samples for Craftwork Cards latest collection (details on their blog as well), I have been preparing for my next demonstration day at Coleman’s Craft Warehouse on Saturday 6th December. I’ve been given the (rather broad) title of ‘Altered Art Tips & Tricks’, so I’ve been busy gathering together ideas and samples to share.

Brand new, especially created for the day, are these altered paper mache letters featuring embossed card, inka gold and tarmac technique; napkin decoupage; Tim Holtz/Ideaology/Distress techniques; acrylic crackle and beads.

IMG_5472_wThis is a Tando Creative mini-print tray decorated with the Christmas Post set from Craftwork Cards – I’ve a quick trick to share with you for colouring in the frame. Embellishments by Mark Richards via Woodware stockists.

I’ll also be revealing my ‘Artist’s Palette’ assemblage for its very first public viewing, as well as bringing along my ‘Sewing Room’ assemblage for your inspiration and sharing ideas. Hope to see you there :)


Hello Today Desk Calendar (for Jones Crafts)

In my happy post on Saturday, I received a collection of papers from the newly released Kaisercraft ‘Hello Today’ collection. I couldn’t wait to get started on them – but I was still in the middle of my Advent Village workshop, so had to wait until yesterday! Over a couple of hours yesterday and today, I came up with this desk calendar:

The calendar is 7″ x 5″ and features the handy 3″ x 4″ calendar tiles alongside the inspirational quotes. By mounting the months back to back with the quotes either side of an acetate sheet which is a half inch longer, the holes for the wire binding doesn’t spoil the month title, and allows the choice of six quotes per month view. Flipping over June and turning the calendar around reveals July onwards and another six quotes to choose from. Edge your pages with Frayed Burlap Distress Ink, and use the Zutter Bind-it-all to pull it all together.

Pages used: Document / Right Now / Nowadays / Current / Mod / New